Starbucks near Buddhist temple triggers debate
Updated: 2012-09-25 10:21
HANGZHOU - International coffee company and coffeehouse Starbucks has again brewed debate over business versus historical interests in China after its opening of an outlet near a famed Buddhist temple in East China.
The controversial Starbucks outlet opened on Saturday in the scenic zone of the quiet, secluded Lingyin Temple, or the Temple of Soul's Retreat, which is located in a wooded area on the bank of the West Lake in Hangzhou city, Zhejiang province.
This is not the first time for Starbucks to light a fire under the kettle in China. In 2007, similar disputes over commercialism in points of historical interest eventually forced the closure of an outlet of the company it had operated for seven years in Beijing's Forbidden city, also known as the Imperial Palace.
Related reading: Starbucks should be verboten in Forbidden City, say netizens
Some people have expressed concerns about the American coffee chain's presence near the peaceful temple.
"The smell of the combination of coffee beans and burning incense must be the fragrant smell of money," Sina Weibo user "Liulianxiaobawang" wrote.
"Starbucks turned to the Buddha after it had 'entered' the Imperial Palace," wrote "Tangboxiaohu".
"Actually, the coffeehouse is a long distance from the temple. It is located in the tourist service area on Lingyin Road outside of the temple, as part of the supporting facilities," said Wang Shan, deputy director of the Lingyin Administration of the West Lake Administration in Hangzhou, provincial capital of Zhejiang.
The temple's administration has urged the cafe to change its name from "Lingyin Temple Starbucks" to "Lingyin Starbucks" to make it clear that it is not located inside the temple.
"Starbucks chose a relatively remote place in the scenic zone that is not along the tourist paths. It takes 20 minutes to walk from the temple gate to the coffeehouse," said a Starbucks staff member who declined to be named.
The cafe released a statement on its official Weibo account on Monday afternoon, explaining the cafe's location and professing its respect for Chinese history and traditional culture.
Meanwhile, a KFC outlet opened about 50 meters away from the controversial Starbucks months ago, joining other supermarkets and restaurants in the area. The Starbucks outlet was the administration's final plan for the service area.
Wang Shan said the administration has strictly controlled the commercial business environment surrounding the temple. "Many shops have been removed from the scenic area and new businesses can only open after a series of examinations, in order to protect the environment and culture of the Lingyin Temple."
Lingering customers just one hurdle for Starbucks China growth 2012-04-19 11:12
Starbucks introduces lighter-roast coffee 2012-04-13 14:12
Starbucks wide awake to China market prospects 2012-04-03 09:01
Localization fuels Starbucks' success in China 2012-02-13 17:31
No coffee mourning over expensive drinks in Starbucks 2012-02-09 09:07
Consumers brace for Starbucks price hike 2012-02-01 16:12
Today's Top News
President Xi confident in recovery from quake
H7N9 update: 104 cases, 21 deaths
Telecom workers restore links
Coal mine blast kills 18 in Jilin
Intl scholarship puts China on the map
More bird flu patients discharged
Gold loses sheen, but still a safe bet
US 'turns blind eye to human rights'
Lunar probe , China growth forecasts, Emission rules get tougher, China seen through 'colored lens', International board,
All-out efforts to save lives
Liaoning: China's oceangoing giant
Poultry industry under pressure
'Spring' in the air for NGOs?
Boy set to drive Chinese golf
Latest technology gets people talking